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UCONN-AAUP Outstanding Contribution Award

UCONN-AAUP Outstanding Contribution Award

The UCONN-AAUP is establishing the Outstanding Contribution Award to honor a former or current AAUP member who has provided exceptional leadership and service to the members of the chapter.

The award, presented in the form of a certificate of recognition and a memorial located on one of the campuses or AAUP property, is given at the annual spring meeting in April.

Nominations should be submitted prior to March 15th in the form of a supporting letter which should address the following criteria:

1. Demonstration of the candidate’s sustained commitment and service to the chapter.
2. Demonstrated leadership on behalf of the members of the chapter.
3. Recognized accomplishments made to the chapter attributed to the candidate.

Please contact the AAUP office for further information.

(Approved by Executive Committee – 12/19/14)

Keep Personal Email Personal

Keep Personal Email Personal

IN HER OWN WORDS: Keep Your Personal Email Personal

Dr. Katie Rose Guest Pryal JD tells readers that most of us don’t pay attention when we use institutional technology to handle our private business.

GUEST PRYAL

We working women often find ourselves fitting the work of home into the margins of the work at our institutions. As we dash across campus to a meeting, we phone the pediatrician to schedule an appointment. While we’re waiting to meet with a student, we email the house painter to finalize a budget. We pay the power bill online using the browser on our work computer.

Technology is a great tool to help us make the most of those small margins. Technological methods of communication like email, text and instant messaging, often make the difference between meeting our nonwork obligations and failing to. Most of us don’t pay attention when we use institutional technology to handle our private business. I’m writing to advise you to pay attention.

Right to know?

Whether you work for a public or private institution, an employer almost always has the right to access your institutional email and to access data on institutional devices. This rule holds true for institutions of higher learning, as some Harvard employees learned last year.

And if you work at a public institution, you might have heard of the federal Freedom of Information Act (or “FOIA”) and the state-level statutes that parallel this federal statute. These statutes give members of the public the right to access the documents of public employees for almost any reason.

For example, the North Carolina Public Records Law covers “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics”—a broad swath of data. If any of this data was “made or received…in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina,” then the documents are subject to a public records request. (To compare, the New York law is very similar.)Anything you type into your institutional email account, text on your institutional mobile phone or save on the hard drive of your institutional laptop is potentially accessible either by your employer or under a state public records law. If such worries seem unwarranted, or even paranoid, consider the following.

First, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has already considered these risks. In its statement on Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications, the AAUP warns that our multidevice campus lifestyle can “blur boundaries between communications activities” that are for home and for work. Furthermore, “Digital devices such as smartphones [are] permitting users to create their own content but also to leave personal ‘footprints,’ which might be subject to surveillance”—surveillance by your employer, or by the public via public records request.

Second, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman condemned a high-profile public records attack against William Cronon, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin who published a letter criticizing his state’s Republican governor. After the letter’s publication, Cronon received a “demand for copies of all e-mails sent to or from Mr. Cronon’s university mail account containing any of a wide range of terms, including the word ‘Republican’ and the names of a number of Republican politicians.” This records request gives you a sense of how broad the requests can be.

Lastly, a colleague of mine was slapped with a public records request by a political lobbying group that disagreed with his extracurricular activist work. (And then, covering my colleague’s story, our local newspaper accessed emails of a variety of administrators across campus.) Once my own division was targeted, I knew I needed to learn how to protect my privacy.

Know your risk

You know those emails that your uncle constantly forwards to your family, full of inflammatory language? The ones you just delete without reading? Those are sitting in your university email account subject to a keyword search by (1) your employer, who technically owns your email, and (2) members of the public who make records requests. When they sift through your email looking for their keywords, they can find information about your children.

Your privacy is vulnerable. But it’s easy to protect it if you just take a few precautions.

• Email. The easiest way to protect the privacy of your email is to create an offsite email account for personal work. Gmail is a good choice. You can set your devices to gather email from both of your accounts. You’ll need to practice switching back and forth between your private email and your work email to keep your communications separate.

• Devices. When my colleague was targeted, the public records request not only asked for his institutional emails, but also any emails and messages sent from a device provided by the institution. Plus, at any point, your employer may access your institutional devices: laptop, tablet and phone. So, if you can afford to, purchase your own devices and use them instead.

If you can’t afford to purchase your own devices—or if you aren’t allowed to use them—use settings to protect your privacy. For example, always set your browser to clear history, cookies and passwords when you quit the program (and then always remember to quit the program when you leave for the day). You’ll need a secure way to remember your passwords, but you shouldn’t store your passwords on your institutional computer anyway.

It’ll take some time to build these new technology habits. However, after you’ve consolidated your private business on private platforms and devices, your private life will not only be more secure, but it will also be more portable, should you ever need to make a career change.

Dr. Katie Rose Guest Pryal, JD is an author and freelance writer who covers health, higher education, motherhood and careers, though not necessarily together. She’s active on Twitter (@krgpryal), Facebook (facebook.com/katieroseguestpryal), and her blog (katieroseguestpryal.com). She teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Good News for Private Sector Faculty Organizing

From Aaron Nisenson, AAUP Senior Counsel

Dear Colleague:

As you may have heard, there were three major developments from the National Labor Relations Board late last semester that positively affect the faculty’s ability to organize unions. In December the NLRB published decisions expanding the organizing rights of faculty members and allowing the use of employers’ email systems for union organizing, and issued new rules for union elections. I’m writing today to give you as an AAUP member information about these developments and their significance.

The NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector. The act guarantees the right of private sector employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity with or without a union, or to refrain from all such activity. (The unionization rights of public-sector faculty members are governed by state, and sometimes local, law.) In recent years, however, the courts and the NLRB have defined most tenure-line faculty at private institutions as “managerial” employees who were not necessarily entitled to the protections of the act, and they have also exempted faculty at religious institutions from the act’s protections.

Organizing Rights of Private-sector Faculty

In Pacific Lutheran University, the NLRB modified the standards in two key tests used to determine the eligibility of faculty members at private-sector higher education institutions to unionize under the NLRA.

First, it addressed whether certain institutions and their faculty members are exempted from the NLRA due to their religious activities. The board ruled that in order to qualify for a religious exemption, the university must both hold itself out as “providing a religious educational environment” and also hold out the faculty members seeking to unionize as “performing a specific role in creating or maintaining the school’s religious educational environment.” The board found that the faculty must be “held out as performing a specific religious function,” such as integrating the institution’s religious teachings into coursework or engaging in religious indoctrination (emphasis in original). This would not be satisfied by general statements that faculty must support religious goals. This new standard should expand the number of faculty who have the legally protected right to unionize at private-sector religious institutions.

Second, the board created a new standard for determining whether faculty members are managers and thus are excluded from the protection of the act. Under the new standard, the board will “examine the faculty’s participation in the following areas of decision making: academic programs, enrollment management, finances, academic policy, and personnel policies and decisions,” giving greater weight to the first three areas. The board emphasized that to be found managers, faculty must in fact have actual control or make effective recommendations over policy areas, rather than mere “paper authority.” This new standard should simplify the determination of whether faculty are managerial employees and ultimately expand the number of private-sector faculty members who have the legally protected right to unionize.

For a more detailed discussion of this case, including the amicus brief submitted by the AAUP, see http://www.aaup.org/news/nlrb-decision-strengthens-organizing-rights-private-sector-faculty-members.

Use of Email for Union Organizing

In Purple Communications, the NLRB significantly expanded the right of employees at private-sector institutions to use their employers’ e-mail systems for union organizing and other activities. The board ruled that employees who are given access to their employer’s e-mail system for business purposes must also be allowed to use that system on non-working time to engage in a wide range of protected communications, including union support and comments critical of the employer’s employment-related policies and management decisions.

More information is at http://www.aaup.org/news/expanded-right-use-e-mail-union-organizing.

Election Rules

Finally, in December the NLRB issued revisions to union election rules that should vastly simplify and expedite the election process. Previously, the results of elections could be tied up for years in pointless litigation, delaying the results of a democratic process, a situation that would be intolerable in any other context. Under the new rules, the parties may file documents electronically; the time frames for identifying issues, providing documents, and making arguments are shortened; and the number of issues that can be litigated prior to holding an election are reduced. Cumulatively, these changes will likely reduce the time from the filing of a representation petition to the holding of an election to between ten and twenty days.

The new election rules also require that employers provide the union with personal e-mail addresses and phone numbers for employees. This is particularly important for reaching out to contingent faculty, who often perform most of their work off campus.

I hope you find this information helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Best wishes,
Aaron Nisenson
AAUP Senior Counsel

Additional Information on this can be found in a February article from Labor Notes- a progressive online labor magazine Private Sector Faculty Get Green Light to Organize

Centennial Contest Extended

AAUPFoundationlogo

Dear Colleague,

As we reminded you last week, in celebration of the AAUP’s centennial this year, the AAUP Foundation is sponsoring competitions for undergraduates and graduate students for essays and artwork.

We’re writing to let you know that the deadline has been extended to March 1.

The theme of both competitions is “Academic Freedom: Its Concept, Its History, Its Successes, and Its Failures.” In both categories and at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, prizes of $1,000 are available. The awards are made possible by a donation from the late Patricia Fox Haig.

The centennial contest is open to all students enrolled at accredited institutions of higher education in the United States. All essay and art work submissions must address the theme “Academic Freedom: Its Concept, Its History, Its Successes, and Its Failures.” Submissions must be sent to centennialcontest@aaupfoundation.org by midnight (EST) on March 1, 2015. Up to two entries may be made by any one student. All entries must include the student’s full name, mailing address, and e-mail address as well as the name of the institution at which he or she is currently enrolled and the category (undergraduate or graduate student) of the entry. By submitting an essay or work of art, the student agrees that the work may be published if it is selected for an award and that the student will not be separately compensated for publication.

See the full contest rules at http://www.aaupfoundation.org/centennial/centennial-contest.

The submission deadline is rapidly approaching, but there is still time for you to encourage your students to enter the contest.

Thank you!

Did you know that you can support the AAUP Foundation while shopping on Amazon.com? See how.

The AAUP Foundation is organized to fund the charitable and educational purposes of the AAUP, including supporting principles of academic freedom and the quality of higher education in a free and democratic society. Visit the AAUP Foundation website and Facebook.

UConn President’s Salary Increase

Herbst Salary Raise

From the Hartford Courant 12-29-15
By: Gregory Hladky

The University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees voted Monday to extend UConn President Susan Herbst’s contract until 2019 with an overall increase in salary and other compensation that will bring her total compensation to more than $758,000 a year in 2015.

The boost in total compensation for Herbst under the new contract amounts to a 20.7 percent increase over her current contract, which was due to expire in 2016.

A study released by the Chronicle of Higher Education in May estimated the median annual compensation for all American university presidents at $478,896 in 2013, the most recent figures available. The Institute for Policy Studies put the average compensation for top executives at public research universities like UConn at $544,554 a year in2012.

But Herbst’s new contract remains well below those of some of the highest paid public university presidents in the nation. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s survey for 2012-13 reported that nine public university presidents were making more than $1 million annually.

UConn Board Chairman Lawrence D. McHugh issued a statement saying approval of the new contract was unanimous and that the board “agreed that President Herbst is an outstanding leader and enthusiastically supported extending her contract through 2019.”

“She is a bold, decisive and innovative president,” McHugh said.

“When President Herbst was hired a little over four years ago today, in December 2010, she was offered a contract that paid her less than her predecessor and less than many other presidents of comparable institutions,” McHugh said. “The board’s view was that, if President Herbst excelled on the job, we would act to increase her compensation over time based on performance and merit.”

Under the new contract approved by the trustees, Herbst’s base salary will jump from $525,000 annually to $585,000. The new contract, which takes effect Jan. 1, also includes an additional $80,000 a year in “deferred compensation,” and a performance incentive of $40,000 annually.

As under her old contract, Herbst will also get a $38,000 annual payment toward a “supplemental retirement plan,” use of a university provided car (estimated benefit of $15,000 a year) and free housing at UConn-owned residences on the main Storrs campus and in Hartford. No housing cost estimate was available Monday.

In addition, the trustees voted to give Herbst a “retention incentive” of $125,000 once she completes five years of service as president in May 2016, and a $75,000 retention incentive to be paid if Herbst stays until the end of her new contract in 2019.

Under her original contract, the University of Connecticut Foundation was paying $145,000 of Herbst’s salary and compensation. The foundation will increase its contribution under her new contract to a total of $300,000.

“I’m grateful to the board for their support and confidence,” Herbst said in a statement issued by UConn Monday. “Our state has made incredible investments in UConn and rightfully has very high expectations in return.”

Earlier this year, UConn officials said that cuts in state funding for the university system would require them to increase student tuition by 6.5 percent to help close a potential $42.6 million deficit. Tom Breen, a spokesman for the Board of Trustees, said the entire amount of Herbst’s salary and compensation increase is being covered by the additional contribution from the UConn Foundation.

“No public dollars, and no tuition dollars are involved,” Breen said.

Herbst’s current contract was due to run out in 2016. Her original base salary when she was hired in 2010 was $500,000 a year, and she got a 5 percent raise in 2013 along with a number of other UConn management officials.

The president of the University of Massachusetts, Robert L. Caret, received a 7.5 percent increase this year to bring his annual base salary to $592,921, according to the Boston Globe. In May, the Providence Journal reported that University of Rhode Island President David M. Dooley would get a pay increase for 2014-15 to bring his salary to $330,000 a year.

Salaries and compensation for top executives at private colleges and universities are even higher than for public school chief executives.

Quinnipiac University President John L. Lahey made almost $3.8 million in 2012, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education report, making him the second-highest paid private school chief executive in the nation. First on that highest compensation list was Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who was paid a total of $7.1 million in 2012.

Hybrid Plan Memo

Hybrid Memo 10-22-14

To: SEBAC Higher Ed Leadership
From: Dan Livingston
Re: Financial Issues from Delay in Processing Hybrid Purchases Date: 10/22/14

You asked me to respond to a concern expressed to some of you that the delay in consummating Hybrid plan purchases due to the backlog could have a negative financial impact on members. To analyze this we need to look at the dual nature of the Hybrid plan.

As you know, the essence of the Hybrid is that members can choose the nature of their retirement plan when they retire instead of when they are employed. That is, the member can, upon retirement, choose to treat their entitlement as a defined benefit plan and get the same monthly benefit as they would get under the equivalent tier of SERS; or they can instead treat their entitlement as a defined contribution plan and receive their contributions, the employer contributions, and 4% annual interest on both. Those moving from ARP to the Hybrid have the same option – they don’t have to make their final decision about the nature of their plan until they retire.

For those members who choose upon retirement to treat the plan as a defined benefit plan, there is no impact from the delay in consummating the Hybrid purchase, since the member begins accumulating service once he or she is placed in “pending status” (meaning the application is complete), not once the actual purchase is consummated. So in this respect the delay is irrelevant to the member.

For those members who choose upon retirement to treat the plan as a defined contribution plan, there is also no impact, but the explanation is a little more complex. If the 4% guaranteed interest wasn’t calculated until after the purchase is completed, the member would be harmed financially because during the delay the money must be in the stable value fund which earns typically over 2 but well less than 4% interest. However, the 4% interest is calculated back to the same date (the pending status date), not the date the purchase is completed. So there is no harm done the member. The only special arrangement that needs to be made is that the stable value fund interest rate that the member earned during the delay period is offset against the 4% Hybrid rate, since otherwise the member would be getting interest twice on the same sum.

Finally some members have expressed concern that the purchase cost for past service is affected by the delay in invoicing. That is not correct. The purchase price is computed based upon the day the application goes into “pending” not the day the transfer is made.

I hope this answers the questions you’ve been receiving. The delay is unfortunate, but it attests to the strong interest members have in this new option (and unfortunately also to the very tight staffing levels at the Comptroller’s office, like everywhere else in state service). But it does not have a negative financial impact on members.

AAUP Centennial Edition of Academe

AAUPlogo

Dear Colleague,

The AAUP has reached its centennial year—a major achievement in the life cycle of a professional organization. Since its founding in 1915, the Association has sought to advance the core principles and values of the academic profession and to shape its governing standards and practices, with the goal of ensuring higher education’s contribution to the common good. While promoting, with remarkable success, the adoption of its recommended principles and standards, the Association has also monitored institutional compliance with them, investigated abuses, and published reports of its investigations.

I was privileged to take part in this work by serving for thirty-one years as a senior program officer in the AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance. A historian by training (I currently hold an appointment as an adjunct professor of history at George Mason University), I was pleased to be asked to take on the task of editing a special issue of Academe commemorating the AAUP’s first hundred years.

What accounts for the persistent vitality of the AAUP’s founding principles and their continuing relevance to American higher education? Despite periods of relative inactivity, the Association has remained responsive to changes in the academic environment and in the nature of the professoriate. As a result, it has regularly developed new policies and standards to help the academic community confront the recurring threats to those core principles.

The articles in this centennial issue of Academe commemorate the AAUP’s admirable past. They describe some of the key areas—and ways—in which the AAUP has advanced standards for the academic profession.

Robert O’Neil’s opening article demonstrates the major role the AAUP has played in shaping the law of higher education.
Debra Nails describes the AAUP’s procedures for academic freedom and tenure investigations.
Jordan Kurland’s companion article comments on the most noteworthy investigations over the decades.
Ann Franke provides an overview of the AAUP’s century-long role in upholding and protecting the principles of academic freedom and tenure.
Larry Gerber’s article shows how the Association’s standards in the area of college and university government have established widely accepted norms of shared governance.
Ernst Benjamin recounts the AAUP’s initial embrace of and evolving emphasis on collective bargaining as a means of achieving the Association’s goals.
Finally, Mary Gray discusses the role played by the AAUP’s Committee on Women in the Academic Profession in developing policies relating to the status of academic women and in advancing the principles of equity and the rights of women faculty.
Periodically throughout its history, the AAUP has adjusted to financial and organizational challenges and weathered internal controversies. What lies ahead? As Franke concludes, “The continuing integrity of the Association’s positions and processes undergirds its moral authority. Only through even-handed application of its core principles will the Association retain its legitimate authority and advance its mission.” Here’s hoping that the AAUP will flourish in its second century and remain faithful to its core principles, thereby maintaining its well-deserved reputation as the authoritative voice of the academic profession.

— B. Robert Kreiser, Academe Guest Editor
brkreiser@gmail.com

Governor Malloy’s Second Round of Budget Cuts

Second Round of CT Budget Cuts
From CT News Junkie 01-20-15
by Christine Stuart

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will be forced to order a second round of budget rescissions because his budget office Tuesday projected a nearly $121 million deficit for fiscal year 2015.

Malloy ordered $54.6 million in rescissions in November, but declining revenues and a $120 million deficiency in the Medicaid account has increased the budget deficit by $89.3 million since last month.

“We will announce additional rescissions in the very near future, and additional actions may be required to address the projected change in operating balance,” Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes said Tuesday in his monthly letter to state Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

Revenues have declined $39.3 million since last month and spending is running $22.8 million above the budget. The biggest deficiency on the spending side is in the Medicaid account.

“A net Medicaid shortfall of $120 million is projected due to increased enrollment, difficulties in achieving the full savings levels incorporated in the budget for the medication administration and step therapy initiatives, additional hospital cost settlements, and revisions to the federal cost share for a small percentage of Medicaid clients who will be reimbursed at 50 percent as opposed to the originally anticipated 100 percent level,” Barnes wrote.

The $121 million budget deficit doesn’t reach the threshold required for Malloy to submit a deficit mitigation plan to the General Assembly. However, that possibility is getting closer.

Sen. Republican leader Len Fasano has been calling on Malloy to meet with Republican lawmakers to allow them to help cut the budget.

Malloy can rescind up to 5 percent of any line item and 3 percent of any fund on his own without seeking legislative approval.

“This was a problem yesterday, and it is an even bigger problem today,” Fasano said Tuesday. “I just don’t get it. Is there simply an inability to talk to Republicans? Every day that goes by without bipartisan action is a step in the wrong direction.”

Fasano said he’s frustrated by the governor’s decision to act unilaterally as the budget situation deteriorates.

“When it comes to state finances, everyone is disheartened by the perpetual bad news. So let’s work together to fix the problem here and now,” Fasano said Tuesday.

But even after finding a way to resolve the new $121 million deficit, Malloy still faces a $1.3 billion deficit in 2016 and a $1.5 billion in 2017. He plans on releasing a two-year budget that will close both of those deficits on Feb. 18.